Wisdom of Solomon
Updated: Oct 24, 2020
Designed by Philip duBarry with art by Tim Baron and Matthew Ebisch, this worker placement game from Funhill sees 1-5 players attempting to be the governor who gains the most favour from the eponymous King Solomon. There are many ways to go about this, with very little holding you back – you don’t have to feed workers, or worry about arbitrary limits – just get lots of resources (there are six types to consider), and find the best ways of turning them to points. This makes it feel like every move is an exciting one (as opposed to games that force you to do things just to keep from starving or going bankrupt!)
There are just six locations at which to take an action but most offer various ways to utilise them. This means that it’s easy to grasp the basics, there’s lots of choice and there's not too much blocking. There’s also a good degree of variability that comes from the different buildings players can acquire and the powerful single-use Fortune cards, all of which can significantly affect the strategy you’ll want to use. The game is well balanced between the different approaches that could be taken: it encourages you to choose something you like the look of and see if you can make a path to victory from it.
One of the unique features of this game is the powerful ‘super action’ spaces, which yield high rewards but require you to place all your remaining workers to use them. This leads to agonising decisions! The other main new element is the network-building worker spaces that become stronger as players build up connections between different productive regions. It’s a fascinating alternative to ‘accumulating’ action spaces in classic Euros; it’s just a shame that the rules are slightly fiddly in this area.
There's nothing special about the components (cardboard chits and standard wooden cubes) but Wisdom of Solomon succeeds in providing a compelling economic experience in little more than an hour, and with rules that are nearly all easy to learn. Wisdom of Solomon also offers excellent replayability due to the number of variables provided by the buildings and cards. Some situations can seem a little strange, with the ‘bank’ of resources often running almost empty, adding to the challenge. Not everyone will enjoy this aspect, but it is interesting and different from similar games in this regard!
We haven’t yet tried it with five (it might prove to be a bit crowded, as is common with Euros at max player count) but Wisdom of Solomon is very good with two, three or four, and the solitaire game is interesting if not overly challenging. My friend said I’d need the Wisdom of Solomon to rate this game, but it’s an easy 8/10 for me.
In summary, Wisdom of Solomon is fast paced and quick to play. It's easy to learn yet highly strategic. It benefits from clear iconography and good replayability, with many paths to victory. Imagine ‘Caylus lite’, with more freedom and flexibility and a broadly Biblical setting, and you’ve probably got Wisdom of Solomon!
(Review by Matt Young)
(Editor's note: No babies were sliced in two during the writing of this review)
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